Board of Directors
Kate Ritley Blazar - President
Kate grew up on Washington's Olympic Peninsula and spent her childhood hiking, camping, and exploring wild places. After earning her Bachelor's degree in Geology and Environmental Studies from Whitman College, Kate moved to Oregon to work on forest and wildlife issues. Kate served as the Executive Director of Cascadia Wildlands, where she led the organization through a period of significant growth and founded the Pacific Wolf Coalition. Kate recently earned her MBA from the University of Oregon and went on to found Animosa, a new brand of outdoor gear for women. She is an avid whitewater rafter, ambitious entrepreneur, and passionate advocate for women and wilderness.
Lisa Billings - Vice President
Lisa is a lifelong Oregonian, growing up in the Portland area and graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Business Administration. Her passion for the outdoors was developed as a child, spending her vacations and free time with family and friends camping, backpacking and exploring the Northwest. She has spent her career with companies with proud Oregon roots, currently as a Senior Merchandising Director for Nike, Inc. Her love for animals and all things wild have Lisa outside as much as possible - snowboarding, hiking, camping, (cautiously) mountain biking and volunteering as a "citizen scientist."
Clara Soh - Treasurer
Clara is an avid rock climber and outdoor enthusiast, and is passionate about protecting and conserving our natural resources. During sending season, you can find her at Smith Rock State Park 5-6 days a week. Trained as a scientist, she moved into public health after spending several years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa. She now works as a healthcare consultant who advises clients on understanding, navigating, and advocating for federal and state policies and regulations. She has a BS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and a Masters in Public Administration from NYU. In her spare time, she is also an active Deschutes County Search and Rescue Volunteer and lives in Bend.
Mellie Pullman - Secretary
Mellie Pullman is a professor of Supply Chain Management at Portland State University where she teaches and researches sustainable food supply chain issues and runs the on-line Business of Craft Brewing program. In her non-academic past, she started Utah’s first craft brewery and a drought tolerant landscape design company. In addition to working as a quality manager for the outdoor equipment company, Black Diamond, she has performed all possible restaurant jobs from dishes to manager to support her skiing and climbing habit in the Wasatch Mountains. Today she splits her time between Portland and eastern Oregon, a location that allows her to experience the issues and conflicts around wildlife and biodiversity firsthand.
Vik is a technology manager by trade and a conservationist, hiker/outdoor recreationist at heart. He serves as the Vice President of Intuitive Surgical but earned his green stripes as a member of the Conservation Committee of the Mazamas climbing group. Growing up in India, Wilderness and conservation were not at the forefront of Vik’s consciousness. His time spent in Oregon learning about the "Western" perspective, and Pacific Northwest issues in particular, has been very instructive and a lot of fun. Vik describes his first real hike as a journey to Steens Mountain with a grad school buddy from Oregon State. Back in 2005, Vik attended the Mount Hood summit meetings and presented the Mazamas’ support for the Lewis and Clark Wilderness proposal to Oregon’s congressional delegation. He also represented the Mazamas at the annual meeting of the Federation of Western Outdoor clubs.
Hillary is the Policy Director at Renewable Northwest, a nonprofit which promotes the expansion of environmentally responsible renewable energy resources in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. She is the former Deputy District Director for US Congressman Earl Blumenauer, where she managed the Congressman's Northwest environmental agenda for 15 years. She proudly led, as part of the Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness effort, Congressman Blumenauer and Congressman Greg Walden's Timberline Trail trip in 2005 (a far cry from her first Oregon backpacking experience when her entire Reed College freshman orientation group got lost in the Zig Zag District). She holds a BA from Reed and has lived in Oregon since 1989. She loves backpacking, gardening, and cooking, and is having a great time introducing her daughter, Piper, to these activities.
Naila grew up in Oman, where her winter weekends were spent outdoors, on the beaches, mountains, and wadis that make up that country. It was easy to fall in love with nature’s bounty. Naila is trained as a forensic scientist, and worked at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in the DC metro area for 7 years. She then briefly transitioned to the healthcare field, and finally gave up laboratory work to dedicate herself to environmental conservation. She now works as a Legal Analyst for Legal Atlas, LLC, where she researches global wildlife trade and environmental crime laws. The choice to switch professional direction was motivated by a need to preserve and protect our environment. Moving to Oregon in 2016, discovering the immense natural beauty in the state, and learning about the political and policy struggles to preserve the state’s wildlife and wilderness motivated Naila to get involved with Oregon Wild. She enjoys exploring the places she lives in, hiking, and recording moments using a combination of words and photographs.
Vail is an associate professor of Environmental Communication at the University of Portland, where she also holds a joint appointment in Gender and Women Studies. An avid ecofeminist, nonhuman animal rights activist, and long-haul backpacker, she researches and teaches on topics related to the culture of nature and the nature of culture, and how humans use storytelling to make sense of wildlife and wild spaces. She lives on a blueberry, honey, and sheep farm on Sauvie Island, Oregon, and documents roadkill - or flattened fauna - in her spare time.
Megan has served as chair of the Finance Committee, Vice President, and President of the board. For her day job, Megan works at Metro, the Portland area regional government, managing the Development Center. Megan relocated to Oregon from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her educational background is from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s (Urban and Regional Planning) degrees. Megan developed her passion for wilderness in college when she took a Wilderness Leadership Class in the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming with the National Outdoor Leadership School. She relocated to Portland ten years ago for the vibrancy of the city and the abundant natural and recreational resources Oregon has to offer.
Danielle Fest Grabiel
Danielle is a Senior Wildlife Policy Analyst at the DC-based Environmental Investigation Agency where she leads international advocacy campaigns to protect endangered African elephants, rhinos, belugas, narwhals and other cetaceans. She has also worked on climate and hazardous waste issues at the international level for more than a decade. Danielle has held various positions in the environmental field including work for the US Environmental Protection Agency and the United Nations Environment Program. Danielle earned her JD at the David A. Clarke School of Law at UDC where she was the school's first Advocate for Justice Scholar. She earned her Master's in Environmental Science & Management from UCSB and her Bachelor's Degree from UCLA. Danielle lives on a small farm at the base of Mount Hood with her husband and two young daughters. She's an avid gardener, snowboarder and paddle-boarder, a lazy runner and a wannabe yogi.
Jared is a Portland native, received a BS in Computer Science from Columbia University, and in the process realized that navigating the analog/digital divide would be a focus of his professional life. After graduation, Jared returned to Portland after travels and work in South America and began working in operations at a green building consulting practice serving clients large and small. From there, Jared co-founded Outdoor Project, an online guidebook with a mission to connect outdoor recreation with conservation groups to build a community of users engaged in protecting the places we go to recreate. He serves as Outdoor Project's COO as well as chairperson of its sister non-profit, OutdoorProject.org. In his free time, Jared likes to be outside finding places well away from the beaten path and engaging with land restoration efforts on his family's land in Eastern Oregon.